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 Post subject: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2009, 14:19 
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On our recent Shos trip I took some photos of various signals.
1+2) These first two were taken between Paarl and Wellington. I did not know that these old signals were still in use. Can anyone tell me if they are controlled by CTC or is there someone in the vicinity that controls the signals.
3) Taken at Tweedside. The siding before Matjiesfontein. We sat there for 10 minutes waiting for a single 6E1 pulling empty flatbeds. This train should have waited at Matjies for us. I thought thats how the systems works
4) Just outside Christiana. Are the tokens still used on this stretch?
5 + 6). This small junction "Andrea", I have never seen this type of signal before. These signal run through to the new cement factory. Anyone know where this line goes to. The Assistant driver got out in no5 opened a box and pressed something before locking it and jumping back into the cab


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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2009, 00:48 
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Hi Stefan

With Regards to your 4th picture, the identification code, "PCM" attached to the signal post, is actually the abbreviation for Potchefstroom. I remember this signal very well from days gone by, back in the early 90’s, when I use to work for Spoornet as a “Student” Electric Train Drives’ Assistant, during school and college breaks, out of the Braamfontein Electric Traction Depot. Many a working to Klerksdorp and back to the Reef, via Cachet, Welverdiend, Bank, and Randfontein, this signal was regularly passed on route back! Potchefstroom for some odd reason, when converted from semaphore signalling to CTC signalling back in the late 60’s or early 70’s, the, then railway signalling department decided to use signalling infrastructure based on German signalling style, design and principles, but keeping to the standard SAR methods of signalling, as so well illustrated in your picture.
I’m not sure why they choose this particular signal design at the time; however Potchefstroom always stands out in the back of my mind as the only station closest to the Reef area that had a different signalling “style” (if I may call it like that), as to what else was available on the Reef at the time.

I also seem remember that I saw, when I travelled down to Port Elizabeth on the overnight Algoa Main Line Train from JHB, in the mid 90’s, that a small station or crossing place, somewhere south of Hamilton, on the Bloemfontein to Springfontein section was also kitted out similarly, with this German signalling “style”. Maybe some of our “older” generation can remind us of the place that I’m thinking of . . . . ., and as to why the railways at the time chose to use this German “style” of signalling?

More than likely, due to the rationalization of our railways since Spoornet days, this particular spot that I’m thinking of, has been probably wiped off the “railway map” many years ago!

Potchefstroom has its own CTC office, adjacent to what was the loco depot on the North-western side of the goods yard, and controls the following sections of line;
CTC Potchefstroom hands over or takes over control of trains to and from Klerksdorp (Klerksdorp CTC), about midway between Koekemoer and New Machavie.
From Potchefstroom Station the triple line splits or into two directions. Firstly, the triple track leaves Potchefstroom in a northerly direction to a junction just north of Cachet Station (which has not seen use in many a decade), where the double mainline line continues around a sweeping right-hand turn, and heads east towards Houtheuwel. Potchefstroom CTC controls only a short bit of this section, only as far as, just east of passing place, named Tarentaal (Not sure if spelling is correct), and hands train control over to CTC Leeuhof.

The single line heading north, which you probably travelled on with your trip to Johannesburg recently, is the single line section, from the junction north of Cachet, which is the Safarcamp to Welverdiend section. Prior to March 2001, this particular section - Safarcamp to Welverdiend, which included manned stations - in between at Boskop and Frederikstad, train movements were controlled solely by Absolute Van Schoor Token Telegraph system, or when these train instruments failed, then absolute paper telegraph orders replaced the failed token system.

I particularly enjoyed working on this particular section of line when I was a “Student” Electric Train Drives’ Assistant on the railways at the time, the main reason being, that we as footplate staff had to catch or exchange tokens on the run. We exchanged many tokens at a rather sedate speed of 60km/h or less, but it’s an unforgettable experience when tokens had to be exchanged at the four station along this section of line, at speeds in excess of 80km/h, with the Blue Train breathing down the cleared sections behind the train/s that I worked on!!!!
It was always a bit of safe footplate fun we had and enjoyed with the co-operation of signalling staff, to see if we could keep ahead of the Blue.

After March 2001, all the stations along the Safarcamp to Welverdiend section were closed, thus rendering the Van Schoor and paper telegraph systems useless. This was replaced with Radio Telegraph Orders, which to my current knowledge, is operated, and controlled from Coligny, thus the “Token and Proceed Signal” notice attached to the signal, to remind the drive of a train that he will be entering a controlled single line section! Notice only the direction indicator is illuminated, above a red signal which informs the driver that he must stop, however the route ahead has been set correctly towards the single line section.

The driver must then await the exchange of the necessary radio messages, completion of all relevant radio telegraph documents and obtain a “right away” to proceed into a single line section from the train assistant.

Before the train driver departs from the Red signal, the train assistant must also obtain an Authority to pass a signal at danger from Potchefstroom CTC, before the train may depart from the Red signal and enter the single line, Safarcamp to Welverdiend section.

With regards to the last two pictures, and I stand to be corrected, Andrea is a one of three control points which is located on the recently completed triangle, which forms a new junction just west of what use to be Welverdiend station. Trains can now be obviously turned more easily, and the triangle adds added advantage that locomotive need not run around their loads in what is left of the Welverdiend goods yard, and thus a direct route for trains from Potchefstroom to Coligny and visa verse.

The signals that you’re referring to in your last two pictures are actually points indicators, new electrical versions of the old mechanical points indicators (or otherwise known as Dalton Points Indicators (old mechanical points indicators)), that we see along the Magaliesburg and other secondary lines around the country.
You may have also seen these mechanical indicators around the Western and Eastern Cape section, as well.

On the line north from Pretoria, many stations, and passing loops are also kitted out with this new electrical points indicators. I have seen two ways that these electrically operated point indicators can be operated, namely;
By remote control from the drivers’ cab using specified remote control for different sections; or otherwise the train assistant climbs down from the locomotive, unlocks the relevant control electrical box, and operates the points with the indictor by de-pressing the required button on a panel within the control box.

I hope that helps!



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2009, 15:13 
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Yes thanx I was confused it was not Christiana. We came out of Potch rode slowly for a couple of minutes before we stopped at that signal. Its amazing one Railway and so many different signal systems incuding those Jurassic signals at Wellington.


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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2010, 16:32 
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Also spotted the signal at Andrea. With a sign on the pole to make sure you remember the points. Must have had problems here?


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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2010, 16:50 
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It seems that all trains have to stop there. I assume you did Alan.


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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2010, 12:50 
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Yes we also stopped there with the driver assistant getting out to do something at the box.

Those old signals are at huguenot station and was interesting to see all those cables and pulleys.

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 14:26 
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Siemens supplied a signicant amount of CTC sectionds under contract in th 60s. Particularly on the PE main line. Another location that used them was the old single line from De Aar to Kimberly, Heuningnest Kloof in one location that comes to mind. They stopped manuacturi those signalsi in about 1969. In Australia I was doing asignalling job for an ore railway with points control from the locomotive and they specified the long range signals. Siemens had aparticularly good lens design. Probaly"too Good " for SAR requirements. The SAR disi not require such long sighting distances and they started local manufacture of the signals I hasve since retired form signals but as you see from my avatar I do work a signal box. albeit on a miniature passenger railway.


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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2013, 15:38 
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Hi All,

I know this is a long shot, but could someone explain the light signal colours, usage, arrangement and combinations of main line and siding lighting used in South Africa? I am trying to get my model rail road as prototypical as possible. This may a be a "how long is a piece of string" request, but I am wanting a general idea of the most common used.

Many thanks in advance

Al



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 13:32 
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Al, as mentioned above by Gabor, there are a number of very different train control systems in use on TFR and Metrorail, from token working (including a physical unique token used on some short branch lines, through "radio train orders" to "track warrant" systems). Most of these token-type train control systems do not need to make use lineside signals. For RTO or TW working, on higher-speed lines, points indicators are used just ahead of or at the turnouts (electronic lights on some lines - mechanical rotating discs on others). On slow-speed, lightly-trafficked lines, half-red-and-half-white painted hand-tumblers suffice to indicate the points setting.

Semaphore signals and van Schoor tablets still exist in a few places (becoming very rare and endangered). Then there are various incarnations of "centralised traffic control" (CTC). The most common signal format used with CTC is shown in the below-referenced post and you can also follow a link in there for more information: http://www.friendsoftherail.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=146&t=10177

It really depnds upon what area, what line type (main, branch, etc) and what era you are modelling as to what sort of signalling you need to install to correctly emulate the prototype. If you have more questions, please feel free to post them here.



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 09:36 
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Hi Steven,

Many thanks for the quick reply. I am modelling parts of KZN, I know the token system is used in Malvern extensively on Metro which I am not covering, my layout is mostly mainline between Durban and the KZN Midlands.

I have found some images that have some of the signals I am hoping to emulate (bwring.net). (Because of a cross-linking restriction on the referenced website, viewers will need to click on the appropriate filenames to view the images)
http://bwring.net/rail/sar/11E035_coallink/images_11E035_coallink

From what I understand the "feathers" are the point direction indication.

How would a yard (like SACD) be operated? Radio I presume?

My layout will be JMRI controlled so it will have a computer connection for setting up routes to be followed, I will have to custom make most of the signals to be prototypical which will be some added fun.

Many thanks for the help and the link which I am reading through :)

Al



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 10:40 
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There are two types of the "feathers" you talk about (they are known as indicator or direction arms - or simply arms; they are not generally called "feathers" in SA).

The first type is a "route indicator". This may be made up as multiple arms (each arm placed at 45 degrees to the left or right of the previous arm) or this may be made up of illuminated figures or letters (or both). Such an indicator describes the route ahead that is set up. This may be by an illuminated arm or by a letter or number (eg a platform number) where the quantity of routes is too great or too ambiguous to show by arms alone. Each successive arm shows a unique diverging route to the left or right of the main route (vertical arm). So, a third arm to the left, pointing at 45 degrees downwards does not mean a U-turn or sharp bend, but actually means the third diverging route to the left (eg this may be the third parallel track on the left at a station). Route indicators therefore show the route set up (ie destination route) over a series of one or more sets of upcoming points, the first of which may or may not be common to all the diverging routes. The route indicator is only displayed in conjunction with a "proceed" or "caution" aspect (or the shunt signal on the same post is operated) on the relevant signal.

The second type is a "direction indicator". These look pretty much the same as the arm-type route indicators, except that there will not be more than three arms (one to the left and one to the right, if applicable). An illuminated diverging indicator shows the driver that the train will be turned out to the left (or right) of the straight-ahead route at a set of facing points (not necessarily the first set of points) en route to the next signal. These indicators do not describe to the driver what route the train will follow, but essentially warn of an upcoming turnout only. These indicators are only lit when the applicable signal is displaying a "proceed" or "caution" aspect (or the shunt signal on the same post is operated). In most cases, the diverging indicator is lit only in conjunction with a "caution" aspect.

One difference with UK practice is the local use of a straight-ahead upright indicator arm in conjunction with a "proceed" aspect when no turnout or diverging route is set; a nice reassurance. The UK generally only provides diverging "feathers" and uses other methods to warn a driver to slow down for a divergence.



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 10:48 
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Al, the image source you quote does not allow remote cross-linking. Please copy and paste the URLs of the images into URL BBcodes in the text of your post (or a new one). Press the URL button in the editor box above the post you are creating to insert a URL BBcode set (two items in square brackets) and then copy and paste a single URL in between those - the cursor should be automatically positioned correctly. Do this for each of the URLs that you reference.



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 20 Mar 2013, 23:50 
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Many thanks for the reply Steven, I'll have a shot at modifying the pic links when I'm back in front of a pc again. How would the go/caution/stop interact with traffic and turnouts? Would it be similar to the UK block methods?

Al



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2013, 11:33 
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Yes, Al. Like most railways (and as in the UK), operates on a fixed block system. Each block starts at a fixed stop signal and usually ends a few metres beyond the next. Only one set of vehicles or train allowed to be in any one block at a time. In CTC areas, occupancy is detected either by track circuits or, in rural areas that have long blocks that make continuous track circuits impractical, by block entry and exit axle-counters.

Where there is a turnout ahead of a signal, the block continuation, in effect, is defined by the position of the turnout. So, if at an interloop for example, the loop line is occcupied, then the signal immediately before the turnout will be set to danger if the facing points are set for the loop. If the loop was not occupied, the the signal would set to "caution" and the direction indicator set to the left or right. If the turnout is set straight ahead, and the main line is not occupied, then usually a green aspect and straight up direction indicator will be displayed (this is different from the UK practice, where a straight up indicator is not usually provided - just the diagonal ones). Most stop signals are also controlled, so the CTC can also set such a signal to danger from remote if required.

This begs the question, if a loco needs to couple onto vehicles standing in the loop, how can it get there if the signal is forced to be at danger by the interlocking? The answer is in a "one position light shunt signal". Usually mounted just below the main signal head is a signal head with two small white lights set diagonally at roughly 45 degrees to each other. This aspect can be operated by CTC to admit a train or loco into an occupied line for a shunting movement (it overrides the interlocking). The main signal will remain at danger. However the two white lights will be illuminated, indicating a "caution" aspect whereby the main signal may be passed at danger for the shunting movement and the person in control of the train or loco must be prepared to stop short of any obstruction or at the shunting limit or at the next signal, whichever is first.

Of interest is the collision that occurred at Deelfontein in the Karoo in October 2005. A north-bound passenger train hit head-on into a south-bound Blue Train set that was stationary on the loop line awaiting a "crossing". The north-bound train got proceed aspects on the signals approaching the "station", even though the facing turnout was actually set to the loop line. The driver of that train was expecting to travel straight ahead through the station on the main line, thus crossing the Blue Train. However as the driver approached he realised that the turnout was incorrectly set, but could not stop in time to avoid a collision. The cause? Faulty interlocking where a recently installed relay had a manufacturing fault (solder bridged contacts) that resulted in what signal engineers call a "wrong side" fault. The interlocking that should have caused the signals to remain at danger for as long as the turnout was set to the occupied loop, but did not. By coincidence, CTC had also not reset the turnout to the main line as they would normally have done before clearing the signals. In effect the block immediately ahead included the loop line by virtue of the turnout setting but the relay interlocking did not reflect that. Ref: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/verdict-in-on-reasons-for-blue-train-collision-2006-02-22



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 Post subject: Re: Signals along the way.
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2013, 14:04 
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Many thanks for the reply Steve!

I am ever so grateful for your time and knowledge, I hope this is not too much of a noob annoyance! It may lead up to a wiki page ;)

Another question I have, what are the functions of:-
the second lower yellow lamp and the white one to the side of danger
Image

My brain is in overdrive working out how I will put your fantastic info into my layout electronics :) The shunting instruction should be a fun challenge.

Al

PS. I have tried to edit the error images with no luck (no edit button is sight), but clicking the images does seem to link them to the source



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